Monday, December 30, 2013

Almost, Almost

The New Year is almost here and the wings are almost finished.

It looks like I'll spend the day stitching--not an unpleasant thought.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Purse Sketchbook, 1

My purse sketchbook is more or less filled up, yet some pages remain empty. To finish it, I'm going back into it with watercolors or colored pencils. Reminds me of coloring books, but it's much more fun. Then I thought about playing with the fabrics that are sitting by my machine from the oranges textile sketchbook page. So I glued the flowered background fabric onto a page. 
Not to be confused with the textile sketchbook for which I have the same page waiting. Today, I've been cutting out small circles and rectangles every time I have to stop and thread a needle for the stitching on which I'm working. Rectangles for the purse sketchbook and circles for the textile sketchbook. Very relaxing. No expectations, except that I do like the colors. Nice way to end off the year...

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Almost Finished?

The end may be in sight! 

However, experience tells me that means another month or so on this piece. 

Well, that's really quite short since I count time spent on a piece in terms of years...

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Sketchbook: Oranges

It started with a stack of fabrics. 

chose a faded floral print from a cotton flea market blouse and glued it, then stitched it by machine to a notebook page.
It created an interesting, airy background.

Scissors in hand, I cut out the shapes directly. 
I glued the pieces down.
Man, I love these colors, double complements, green & blue with red & orange. 
I also like the contrast of solids and prints. I think I'll do another page with these colors...something geometric, just to play.

Click here to see finished page.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Sketchbook to Quilt: Round 'N Round

This really bores me silly, to repeat, to have a design that's already worked out. I have to trick myself into working on this. "Ok, today I'll just do this one little thing for it" I got the central figure cut out.

Actually, this would work up very fast if I could bend my mind around it. It's only about 2 ft. square.

I think I'll cut down the figure a bit so that I have more room to fiddle around with the background.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Back to Wings, 10

As usual, inching along in the wee hours of the night. 

However, maybe, just maybe the end is in sight.
And may Santa stuff your stockings with lots of stitching goodies!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Teal & Beige, 2

The dark grouting made the design pop out on this 4-inch paint can.

The design looks different from every side.

It will now sit for a week or so to cure, then I can plant it.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Under the Tree

With it's red balls and green leaves, the pomegranate tree is looking quite festive and showing holiday spirit. I'm laying down patches of beiges and light browns underneath the tree (by machine) which seems ridiculously easy to sew because it's mostly on-grain; sometimes that's a relief. I'm also adding on patches around the perimeter to finish it off. Soon I'll have to think about squaring it up (or not)--that's going to be a challenge. As the piece keeps growing, I may have to take over the living room floor. 

Come to think of it, I may have to go into town and find a white cotton for the back. Usually, I piece the back, but not this time. A backing that is on-grain would help stabilize this piece. Fortunately, I know that it will all quilt out...

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Dazzle Me! 4

A friend and I went to a huge craft show yesterday. As expected, there were a number of disappointing low-quality booths. On the other hand, amazing art and craftsmanship delighted us as well. One booth in particular had painted glass with exquisite workmanship.

This beautiful 11" (28 cm) perfume bottle came home with me. Lovely colors and form plus perfect hand-painting made this festive piece irresistible. I was dazzled!

It occurs to me that the "Dazzle Me!" post titles could go on indefinitely now that I've got my philosophy well-defined...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Teal & Beige, 1

Beige sits toward the bottom of my list of favorite colors, or rather it sits at the top of the list of colors I dislike. And yet it can be useful. I finished glueing this small paint can with a beige/salmon filler.

You know the rule: use colors you don't like. A color I simply dislike is apricot (or salmon). There's no cure for it, so I force myself to use it because it makes blue sing. 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Dazzle Me! 3

In an attempt to clean up my work table, I decided to use up the thick green floor tiles that once graced the bathroom. Here's the four-inch paint can finished and planted.

Then I began to cover a 10"-tall oil tin for the same effect.

However, I ran out of green tiles for the corners (well, that was the point, to use them up). I checked out the tiles leftover from other pots. Most were too thin. I hit upon a sort of red-burgundy that could work in a pinch, then I found a grayed purple of the same thickness--bingo!

The green tiles were smashed for that irregular look, but the burgundy and purple tiles had been cut in small squares, rectangles and triangles creating a nice contrast.

A plant container should enhance the plant, so I usually don't go wild with color. However, the purple and burgundy made this pot go from ordinary to interesting. Those colors climbing up the corners enchanted me--I could look at them forever. Ah, yes, dazzle me!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Dazzle Me! 2

As usual, inching along in the wee hours of the night on this piece. 
I don't mind the slow pace now because I can see the end in sight. 
And every time I take pictures of this piece, I am dazzled...

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Small Mosaic Pots

Finished a couple of small pots (originally 4"-tall paint cans), now ready to plant. Here they sit next to one of my new cement artichokes. For the plain green one on the left, I have used the original floor tiles from our bathroom, which was totally gutted several years ago. The floor tiles are thicker than wall tiles, so I can't mix anything with them if I want a smooth surface. Thus a simple design while trying to clean out.
    The one on the right makes use of itsy, bitsy leftover pieces. I like the effect of those tiny pieces.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Dazzle Me! 1

Over at her Cloth Company blog, Dee Mallon moderated an interesting discussion about art and process the other day (here), about creative approaches--planned vs. improvisational or a mix. She got me to thinking so I tossed in my two-bits worth: 

"The day I had something to say was the day I finally got it together as an artist (first Gulf War, as a matter of fact). So obviously, most of my work is gut-wrenching, idea-driven. That being said, I plan very little and the process unfolds as I go. Here’s the thing: I expect to be dazzled. The final piece will go far beyond my wildest imaginings and that’s what I love. Dazzle me! (Why would I do it if I knew how it was going to look???) For this to happen, however, most of my work is over a long period of time, which allows me to discover so many things about process. I gave up counting time (and money) long ago. Just dazzle me!"

Ok, sometimes things don't work out so well, but, I've been at this long enough to know that generally, the art work will speak to me at the end and I will be surprised, delighted, and especially dazzled. My feeling is always of wonder: "Oh my gosh, I had no idea I could do this" despite the terrible issues that drive my work, the scream from the guts.

Dee found the idea of "Dazzle me!" to be novel, which surprised me (I thought everybody saw creative process this way) and made me realize that this has been formulating someplace in the back of my mind for awhile.

So there it is. I'm glad I finally figured this out. Some people pick a new word for the coming year. Mine's for a lifetime. Dazzle me!

Linked to Nina Marie's "Off the Wall Friday."

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Fruits of the Season, 7

Notes about the text: I switched up to a heavier thread on top (for buttonholes) that gave a slightly thicker line, which I like. I also did this freehand--no marking, just did it. Less anxiety about trying to stay on the line, but more anxiety about clearness of script. More practice needed, but it's still fun. 
See here for the final page.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My First Mosaic Pot

Poor humble first mosaic pot required some repair work that I finally got to yesterday, after it sat for months on the work table.

For some reason the clay pot had some disintegration problems along the rim. White cement to the rescue.

Ahhh, much better. A second lease on life. Tomorrow I'll replant it.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Fruits of the Season, 6

The yellow rectangles are now machine stitched. The idea of putting in a yellow background as the complement of purple rather pleases me--it's so cheery. Memories of a warmer month.
I'm liking the uneven, extended edges. They'll probably stay.

I decided to add cross-hatched shadows with a black marker. Stitching over them would probably make the area too dark.

The temptation to add hand stitching is hard to resist. That's why rule no. 1 is speed for my textile sketchbook.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Fruits of the Season, 5

Playing with the background and thinking about a light source, shades of yellow, a spectrum, and rectangular shapes tiled together.
Better photo today because of natural lighting, truer colors. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Fruits of the Season, 4

Admittedly, the season is now gone by. No more grapes or figs to be seen. However, I've finished all my teaching tasks and can now look forward to a well-deserved vacation during which I have MY work awaiting and a number of things to finish, such as this sketchbook page. I added machine stitching last night.
Nice to be back...

Monday, November 25, 2013

Working Small & Fast

My current purse sketchbook/planner is only about 7" (17cm) tall. Very small for me.

As I'm giving midterm exams, I have to grab very small opportunities.

A couple of fast sketches of the tops of heads was all I could manage. If they figured out what I was doing they wouldn't have paid attention to their work!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Coming Up for Air

As usual, inching along in the wee hours of the night.
And slogging through midterm exams, I have been wondering about 
my decision to go back to teaching. Sooner or later, I'm going to have to come to grips with my priorities. The artwork has been shoved aside, which is painful to me...

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Color Study of a Butterfly

A butterfly was trapped in a crate by my kitchen door and so I found it in a state of rigor mortis. I had never really noticed this species before.

So beautiful. I wanted to see it closer--digital camera to the rescue.
The touch of blue with the rich red-brown, and oranges that lean toward an apricot/gold color, plus the starkness of black and white are all very pleasing and dramatic as well.
Nature has her reasons for such a wonderful display of color, but, I will be content to admire her extravagance.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Every Picayune Leaf?

Yeah, yeah, I know. When you sketch or paint a tree you're not supposed to draw every single leaf on the tree...leave something for the imagination. Proof that I know this--last night I added watercolors to a blind sketch in my sketch club agenda book. Just fooling around with the paint and colors, no expectations. 

Well, now, I feel like I'm drawing every picayune leaf on the Pomegranate Tree Quilt and I'm chafing at the bit.
This piece has been sitting under the presser foot for the last couple of weeks (or is it several weeks?). The size, of course, makes the going s-l-o-w as I stitch down all those oddball green shapes with a soft green thread. However, the idea that the machine stitching/appliqué adds another layer and more lines pleases me. And so I persevere. 

M-a-n, am I stubborn...

Linked to Nina's "Off the Wall Friday."

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Back to Wings, 9

Slowly, slowly, it takes shape....

Long way to go--more stitching pleasure...

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Another Start?

Yeah, yeah, I know. I'm not supposed to be starting another piece when I have zippo time and a TO-DO-LIST as long as my arm. Well, tough!

With the times being what they are, I felt that my last sketchbook page needed to become a larger work. 

No, truth to tell, it was when I realized I had enough of the background fabric left that I made the decision to expand.

Here's the beginning: Two sheets of newsprint serve as the stabilizer to which I'm pinning the fabric.
It currently measures about 2ft. x 2ft., but will inevitably grow. The uneven edges please me. I'll add more red bits. The idea of palimpsest (loose definition: an underneath text or image shows through despite new layers) comes into play here. [The main reason that I went to graduate school is so that I can throw around big, impressive words. ha!] That the original flowers (in the darker fabric) come to represent a flow of blood adds layers of meaning, some irony, some horror.

I am currently thinking of pulling together a small exhibition that connects my artwork to my blogposts and to the so-called Arab Spring. No idea of the where or when, but "leap and the net will appear."

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Back to Wings, 8

As usual, just inching along....
In the comment sections, Susan mentioned that this was a tedious technique.
Time-consuming, yes; tedious, rarely. The possibilities of what can be done are endless. This is high adventure...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Bit of Sketching

A bit of fun, sketching with a friend.
Her cat fell asleep and didn't move a whisker...quick!

I sketch in a recycled planner/calendar so that I can feel free to fiddle around and play, with no expectations. No worries about ruining expensive imported paper (which I can't even find at the art shop anymore--the dinar is worthless) or facing a white page... 

Pomegranates are in season now. A blind sketch first.
I love the way colored pencils layer. I could do a million studies of pomegranates and never tire of their color and shape--consider the Pomegranate Tree Quilt. Come to think of it, my colored pencil marks seem to be influenced by the way I have come to stitch on the machine.And, of course, I eat a least a couple a day. Pomegranates are a part of me...

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Back to Wings, 7

The Wings keep circling back into my creative time, little that there is. 
While I'm sewing down leaves full of pins on the Pomegranate Tree (a prickly and time-consuming undertaking, even on the machine), I've inched along a bit here.
I get lost in the needle-turn appliqué, pleasantly entangled.